We've all spent a lot of this year at home, and it's helped us to appreciate the small joys in our lives. For many, hobbies had dropped by the wayside, but it appears that now we are reacquainting ourselves with the things we love – crafting, making and learning new things.

Now is a great time to visit this beautiful part of the world and share a creative experience with family and friends, while supporting some of these fantastic local businesses. You’ll also learn new skills and enjoy an experience-to-remember with one of our very talented local makers.

Spend time making and creating, and at the end of your workshop or class, you’ll be proud to take home your handmade masterpiece. From distilling gin to handcrafting jewellery, here are six local experiences you’re not going to want to miss.

Immerse yourself in the art of guitar making with Luthier, Nick Carpenter from Wildwood Instruments in Daylesford. This is the only course of its kind in Australia and is an exciting opportunity to build a custom guitar in only two days. Choose from a great selection of kit guitar models; everything is provided. No experience is necessary, and you’ll be guided through the whole process of turning your guitar parts into a fully functioning instrument. At the end of this fun class, you’ll take home your custom-made guitar. Courses run monthly and start from $649.

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Big Tree Distillery, Newham

Explore your artistic possibilities in the light-filled Cusack&Cusack Gallery in the heart of historic Piper Street, Kyneton. The gallery built circa 1883, was the town’s original bakery. It’s a grand old building, which has been lovingly restored. Offering a wide range of half and full-day workshop experiences including drawing, painting and printmaking, they cater to all levels from beginners to masterclasses. So, no matter what stage you’re at, there’s a class to suit your skill level. And if you’re a practising artist, their Artist’s Residency Program is now open for expressions of interest. So, if you paint, draw, sculpt or write, this is your opportunity to immerse yourself in the creative beauty of central Victoria.

Big Tree Distillery is the result of a gin-loving husband and wife team Catherine and Gary who love good gin so much, they decided to make their own. Distilled on Jack’s Springs Farm in the Macedon Ranges, they produce a range of award-winning small-batch Australian gins. They also offer one-day gin making classes, which is a hands-on experience where you will learn about the distillery and the process of gin making with the help of the Big Tree Distillery team. Once you’ve made your gin, you get to take it home. Classes include lunch and of course a G&T at the end of the day.

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The Old Auction House, Kyneton

The Old Auction House in Kyneton is a hub for creators. With ever-changing galleries, and a handmade gift shop featuring artisans from all over Australia, every visit will reveal a new treasure. Their space hosts working artist studios and an area for workshops. Discover the art of glasswork by joining a class run by Leadlight by Ettore; who is a renowned expert in glass preservation and restoration. Some of their regular weekly and weekend courses include creating a leadlight panel, light catchers, fused glass homewares and mosaics. They also have a range of parent and child classes, planned around the school holidays.

If you’re interested in woodworking or you’ve ever wanted to learn, then signing up to classes at the Phoebe Everill School for Wood at Drummond is a must. Set in a spectacular location, her workshops cater for absolute beginners through to advanced students. She offers two types of classes. There are regular fortnightly classes with a maximum of five students, where you work on individual projects, and five-day intensive short courses limited to four students. Each person works on a project designed around their experience from start to finish. She also brings in specialist teachers to run one-off short courses in woodworking. All hand tools are supplied, and there is a fully equipped machine room. Every student has an individual program designed around their experience and areas of interest.

I’m Bec from Pod Jewellery, and I offer a range of jewellery making and wedding ring making workshops from Pod Studio, which is perched high on a hill on the outskirts of Kyneton. Classes are small, with a maximum of six people (and a maximum of three people during Covid-19 restrictions), so you’ll receive lots of help. Whether you’re a complete beginner, hobbyist or an up-and-coming jeweller, you’ll learn at your own pace, while making a piece that suits your style and taste. Everything is supplied, including tools and equipment. There is no need to pay extra to work in silver; it’s all included. Full day workshops include a gourmet lunch, and all workshops include morning/afternoon tea. Wedding ring making workshops are held over two half days or one full day.

Visiting our region makes a big difference to our small businesses and people who live here. We’re waiting with (socially distanced) open arms to welcome you back.


Main Image: POD Jewellery making class, Kyneton

About the author

Bec de Podolinsky, POD Jewellery
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Bec de Podolinsky is a goldsmith and jewellery teacher based in Kyneton. She returned to the country after a decade of living in Melbourne and opened her jewellery school Pod Jewellery in 2014. When she’s not teaching, you’ll find her working in the garden or eating out at one of the many amazing restaurants and cafes in our region. Bec is passionate about history, photography and loves discovering new places in regional Victoria.